October 12, 2010
Wesley Burt

Fallin increases lead as undecided voters make up their minds

The most recent SoonerPoll finds Congresswoman Mary Fallin leading Lt. Governor Jari Askins by the largest margin since SoonerPoll began polling the Governor race in January. Fallin leads Askins with 53.7 percent, a 15.3 point lead over Askins 38.4 percent.

Although the October poll marks the first time the race has been polled by SoonerPoll since the Primary election, SoonerPoll has asked voters who they would vote for in a race between Fallin and Askins four times since January.

Although Fallin has always led in this poll the margin has fluctuated throughout the campaign. The race reached its closest point just before the July primaries when the candidates were within the margin of error.

Throughout the year, results indicated an undecided population in the double digits, never less than 12.2 percent. However, the most recent results find the undecided population at its lowest point in the race at just 8 percent, a 6.8 percent drop since the last time the race was polled.

When the ideological makeup of those undecided in July are compared to those who are still undecided the reason for Fallin's sharp increase in support becomes apparent. The July undecided voters were 59.8 percent conservative and only 30.4 percent liberal to moderate while current undecided voters are only 42.8 percent conservative and 39.3 percent moderate to liberal.

Complete Results and Analysis

"The results indicate Fallin's lead has increased as the more conservative Republicans and Democrats who were previously undecided have become Fallin supporters," Bill Shapard, CEO of SoonerPoll, said.

The 8 percent that remain undecided are evenly split by political ideology and party, with exactly half Republicans and half Democrats. "Based on the pattern we have seen, we can predict with some certainty that Fallin and Askins will probably split the remaining undecided voters pretty evenly," Shapard said.

The poll also found that 78.5 percent of Republicans favor Fallin while 60.1 percent of Democrats and 56.3 percent of Independents favor Askins. 28.6 percent of Fallin's support comes from Democrats while 16.3 percent of Askin's support comes from Republicans, giving Fallin a +17.7 point net party crossover advantage.

Party crossover advantage can often indicate the winner in statewide elections in Oklahoma. In 2006 Governor Brad Henry had a 36.8 percent advantage over Republican Ernest Istook in the SoonerPoll and in 2008 Sen John McCain had a 27.7 point advantage over Sen. Barack Obama the SoonerPoll, both Henry and McCain went on to win, at least in Oklahoma, on election day.

Additional research into the poll reveals that men are more likely to vote for Fallin by a ratio of 2 to 1, whereas women are only slightly more likely to vote for Fallin as opposed to Askins. This is the first time in state history that two women battled it out for the governor seat and, along with that, it is the first time the male vote has been more closely watched than the female vote.

"This has potential to be the biggest stumbling block for Askins," Shapard said. "If the Askins campaign does not figure out how to overcome the current male vote ratio they cannot win on election day.", Oklahoma's Public Opinion Pollster, commissioned and conducted the scientific study using live interviewers by telephone of 352 likely voters from Oct. 3-7, 2010. The study has a margin of error of ±5.2 percent.

Wesley Burt
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Wesley Burt